Green Bay Packers

Lombardi-era Packers backup quarterback Zeke Bratkowski passes away

He was the best friend of Bart Starr, his football confidant and his "relief pitcher" who helped the Packers to numerous victories en route to their triple championships of 1965-67.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette and ESPN Seattle reporter John Clayton both report that Zeke Bratkowski has passed away at the age of 88 years old.

Bratkowski is best remembered for piloting the Packers to the 1965 Western Conference playoff win over the Baltimore Colts en route to the '65 NFL title.

Three times in 1965 and 66, he led the Packers in relief of Starr to wins over the Colts. That list also included a 1966 matchup that clinched the Western Conference en route to their win in Super Bowl I.

Bratkowski also served in the U.S. Air Force with evental Packers teammate Max McGee.

In seven years with the Packers, Bratkowski was 4-4-1 as a starter. He had a 73.2 passer rating, completing 52.9 percent of his passes for 3,147 yards and 21 touchdowns to go with 29 interceptions in an era where defenses dominated passing games much more often than they do today.

Starr and Bratkowski were best friends from the moment Bratkowski came in 1963. Bratkowski worked for Starr on his coaching staff with the Packers, and they regularly shared time together at their homes on the Gulf Coast in their later years.

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